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Ready to meet the new face, and fragrance, of the My Burberry family?

August 22nd 2016 / Anna Hunter

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Lily James, a black trench coat and a spellbinding new scent. The new fragrance launch from Burberry is giving us goosebumps, and here’s why…

The Chief Creative and Chief Executive Officer of Burberry Christopher Bailey has an eye for talent. From Douglas Booth to Eddie Redmayne to Suki Waterhouse and Emma Watson, Burberry collaborates with established national treasures, or treasures to be, on almost every campaign headed by Bailey, and the launch of the new My Burberry Black is no exception. You’re about to see Lily James, and the original My Burberry fragrance, in a way you never did before…

Shot by the legendary Mario Testino, the My Burberry Black campaign oozes seduction, with a dripping backdrop of rain to keep things real, fun and...British. Of course, the ‘intense’ interpretation of the original My Burberry is also reflective of all things Blighty, with perfumer and collaborator Francis Kurkdjian revealing that the inspiration behind the really rather sultry new scent was an English garden, but not on your average sunny summer afternoon:

“For My Burberry Black, Christopher Bailey wanted us to go back to the original story, the English garden. But the English garden in our new story is different because it’s evening, a different time of day and a different mood. There is a gathering storm and heavy rain yet it is warm; a captivating scent fills the garden; a sensual warmth and lushness fills the air. There is a woman in this garden, wearing only her black trench coat against her bare skin. She is a very confident woman – confident about herself and about her sensuality. I loved the idea of creating a fragrance for a more seductive woman. This was the challenge for me as a perfumer and that was the exciting thing about it.”

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The confident, trench clad woman in question is, as you’ll know by now, Lily James, and it has to be said that she fits the coat, fragrance and brand perfectly, as she herself muses:

“Burberry is such a quintessential British brand and it has a quintessentially British style about it, which is effortless and cool in a modern way. At the same time, there’s the heritage and craftsmanship. It feels terribly authentic. I don't think I would have ever worked with a brand that didn't encourage that idea of being yourself at the core, and I think that Burberry is all about being yourself and genuine.”

“Burberry has always been a part of my life. I met Christopher Bailey quite a while ago and I have had a relationship with Burberry through wearing the clothes and it has been developing.”

It’s fair to say that the feeling’s mutual (Bailey describes James as ‘clever’ and ‘lovely’), and happily Lily’s affinity with the musky rose notes of the new fragrance is heartfelt:

“I've always genuinely loved rose as a smell, and I played Lady Rose in Downton Abbey, and at the heart of all the My Burberry fragrances is the rose note. It goes perfectly hand in hand with an ‘English rose’ theme. To me, My Burberry Black has a beautiful, sensual smell. I like that there's this sort of dark edge to the rose in it, the amber, and then there's the rose and peach; it feels floral but with more of a sensual muskiness to it.”

“The fragrance makes me think of those long summer days and nights just as it starts to become a little stormy and intense. It’s so sensual.”

Lily loves the new scent so much, it’s snuck it’s way onto her signature list, which is quite something given her passion and attachment to fragrance:

“I like to choose a fragrance for every character I play and then I wear it whenever I am in character. When I was filming Downton Abbey I wore a rose perfume for Lady Rose. I chose My Burberry EDT for Juliet when I played her in London recently- it felt fresh and bright which fitted with the role. Then when I spritz the fragrances on again much later, I’m immediately back in the shoes of that character. But for me as ‘Lily’, I like to have a signature scent for myself and I really like always wearing the same perfume every day. I'm really enjoying wearing My Burberry Black as my signature scent.”

When Lily wears scent, she doesn’t really do subtle application either, as she freely admits:

“I spray my neck, my arms and then I walk through it, too. I do it all! [Laughs] The walking through is great. I’m sure it’s a massive waste of a perfume, but I enjoy it.”

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My Burberry Black wasn’t the only thing that Lily enjoyed wearing during the recent campaign; her good taste extends into the sartorial realm too:

“When I was on set for My Burberry Black I felt amazing in the black trench coat, I mean it feels tailored within an inch of your life – it genuinely felt like a second skin. And the Burberry trench coats make you look so good – it's insane. And they look great with anything. If you're naked, they look great, too, it’s true! One of the first things I genuinely bought when I started acting was a stone Burberry trench and I just loved it, I wore it all the time. I think the honey is probably the one I wear the most. But the black is great for evening and kind of looking chic.”

Looking chic in the rain is perhaps a skill that us Brits can claim to have nailed, and the on-set drizzle was definitely a highlight for Lily during shooting and filming for the My Burberry campaign:

“The rain machine was great! I just had so much fun running around on set with umbrellas - the music was playing super loud and I was just dancing in the rain. Everyone definitely has to embrace the rain. The rain is gorgeous. That’s why Britain will always be a green and pleasant land.”

Green and pleasant it may be, but My Burberry Black certainly conveys the brooding, ‘elegant dishevelled-ness’ that typifies Britain and the Brits, as Bailey would have it. Sure, there’s a sweet, classic rose rose at it’s heart, but Brits are deeper, more varied and more complex than their perfectly pruned rose bushes, as Kurkdjian reflects:

“Sometimes when we think about Britishness or British perfume, people automatically think about British ingredients. To me this is nonsense because Britain is one of those countries, which is totally open to the world and different cultures, and this characterises Britishness. It’s not about Britishness because you put British mint or British lavender in. To me Britishness is truly an attitude, a way of thinking about the world.”

I’d say he’s spot on there, and speaking of opening up, Lily has today taken over Burberry’s Snapchat, ending in the reveal of the campaign shots and video, which features a soundtrack of ‘I Put a Spell On You’, as sung by Duffy. As of 23rd August, you can also have a play with Burberry’s first sponsored Snapchat lens, in which you can shelter from the rain under an umbrella and blow a kiss to trigger a golden beauty filter. Available in the UK, US, France, Italy and Germany, the interactive lens will only be available for 24 hours, so get snapping. It seems that this time, Burberry truly are set on making My Burberry ‘yours’. Given that the scent also takes influence from the black Burberry Heritage trench coat (see the hand tied black gabardine knot hailing from Yorkshire on the bottle, plus the horn-finish cap), it’s essentially the next best thing to draping yourself in a Burberry classic, à la Lily.

My Burberry Black is available from today in 90ml, 50ml and 30ml, in addition to a 900ml collector’s edition. RRP: 50ml – £65.00 RRP / 90ml - £92.00 RRP.

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